Bendigo Easter Festival 2017
April 27, 2017

For our local regional city, Bendigo, Easter means the Bendigo Easter Festival and an essential feature of the festival is………..dragons. Chinese dragons to be exact.

The Easter Festival began as the Bendigo Easter Fair in 1871. The highlight of the Fair was the Gala Parade. The local Chinese community first participated in the parade in 1879 and in 1892 provided a dragon for the parade….thus began a long standing tradition.

IĀ  headed up to Bendigo Easter Sunday to observe the celebrations outside the Golden Dragon Museum as the Chinese cultural component of the Festival prepared to join the parade.

I arrived there early so I could be in the front row behind the barriers.

The initial proceedings were colourful but relatively low key.

Banners which are stored inside the museum were brought out and participants stood around until they were given the signal to move off

Helllllooooo…….I believe that is Lisa Chesters, Federal Member of Parliament for Bendigo.

The men with the bright red sleeves are part of the fireworks brigade.

The pace really began to pick up when the lion dancing troupes arrived. These young people are from the Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne.

Alert!! Who is coming??????

This is who is coming!

By now the fire crackers are being let off, the drums are beating and the cymbals are clashing. The noise is tremendous!

This is one of the dragons which emerged to participate in the Gala Parade.

The excitement is building and the lion dancing troupes form a guard of honour.

The lions are bored…..waiting, waiting, waiting.

Attention!…He’s coming!

Yes, He is coming!

AND HERE HE IS!!!!!…..This is what the fuss is all aboutĀ  – Sun Loong, the world’s longest, imperial, processional dragon.

The air becomes misty with the smoke from all the firecrackers which crackle on his appearance.

Sun Loong goes off to join the Gala Parade where he is undoubtedly the star.

Sun Loong has one of the cushiest jobs in the world. He snoozes all year to be woken up the day before the parade. The Easter parade is his sole outing for the year.

There is plenty to see when the marchers return to the museum.

The Chinese lions continue to protect the dragons as they return.

This lion troupe in their hot, tropical colours came all the way from Cairns in Far North Queensland.

Sun Loong is the last to return to the museum. He enters tail first.

Sun Loong is given a tremendous send off as he bids farewell for another year.

The celebrations continued after Sun Loong disappeared…… the lions demonstrating their athleticism. The performance concluded with the lions rearing right up tall, parading in a tight circle.

There are no photographs, I was too busy clapping and cheering. I loved every minute of it.

Sun Loong retires in 2018. Bendigo is raising funds so his successor, Dai Gum Loong, can be made.

This video provides more information about Bendigo’s dragons.

Andersons’ Mill Festival, Smeaton
April 9, 2017

Unlike today which is cold and wet, Sunday, the 2nd of April was cool and dry – a good day to attend the Anderson’s Mill Food, Wine and Music Festival in Smeaton.

Situated in a valley on the banks of Birch’s Creek, the Mill is hidden from view by those travelling along the Creswick Smeaton Road. The 5 storey blue stone building with its iron water wheel was built by the Anderson brothers in 1861. The brothers arrived on the goldfields from Scotland in 1851 and were successful as diggers. They went on to become saw millers supplying the gold industry and built the Mill to take advantage of the local agricultural and population boom.

The Anderson family operated the Mill for almost 100 years until it closed in 1959. The Mill remained empty until it was purchased by the Victorian State Government in 1987 when restoration work began. The Mill is currently listed on the National Estates Register of the Australian Heritage Commission.

The Anderson’s Mill Festival is very much a local community event with Parks Victoria and organisations such as the Hepburn Shire Council and Newlyn Football/Netball Club working together.

 

On the day of the Festival, the ground and first floors of the Mill were open to the public.

 

 

This is the top of the water wheel as seen from the first floor………

……..and this is the wheel at ground level. The wheel was operating on the day although it was not driving anything.

The remains of the grind stones. The Mill processed wheat for flour and also processed oats in an oven.

Most of the Mill’s machinery was sold for scrap when it closed.

 

The wood chop demonstration was impressive to watch – not for the faint hearted.

 

 

 

 

 

This colourful steam engine was worth a second look………

………as was this lovely Clydesdale.

 

 

Maldon Art Walk 2017
March 18, 2017

Today, Friday, was a perfect autumn day and what better way to spend it than to wander around the nearby historic town of Maldon appreciating the art displayed as part of the 2017 Maldon Art Walk. From the 12th to the 26th of March, the work of local artists is on display in shop windows and in public spaces. The work of 100 artists is displayed in 50 venues. Tiny, little pots rub shoulders with the sausages at the butchers, a large charcoal drawing struts its stuff at the hardware shop, a painting of a carousal is a joyous addition to the premises of the local ice cream maker and a small, metal boat rolls on barbwire waves in the garden shop.

The following photographs are of a small selection of what is on show. I didn’t have to worry about reflections from shop windows with these works.

This dress is made of chicken wire, yet it looks soft and filmy – I love it.

I also love these beautiful, hand dyed felt jackets

This courtyard with the old pomegranate tree brought back memories of a lazy lunch with relatives under its shade years ago.

The court yard provides the setting for this amazing installation….

………….. as well as these sculptures.

On the far wall of the dining room of the historic Kangaroo Hotel is this painting of the Trentham Falls.

My friends and I enjoyed a hearty lunch in the dining room.

Taradale House, Taradale
March 8, 2017

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Taradale House is the setting for weddings and celebrations providing accommodation and a venue for these events. It was open to the general public during the 2016 Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens

The gardens have been designed to complement the purpose of this events business.

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Yellow was the dominant colour in the walled garden.

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This is the detail of the back of a garden seat.

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White Night Melbourne, 18th February 2017
March 1, 2017

In its 5th year, Melbourne’s White Night is a cultural event held over a 12 hour period from Saturday, 7.00pm to Sunday 7.00am.

A friend and I decided to test our boundaries by travelling down to Melbourne by train on Saturday, the 18th for our first experience of this event. We decided the attractions in the Carlton Gardens – Melbourne Museum area would be enough to occupy us for the night.

This is a YouTube rich post as what we saw was beyond words. We were picking our jaws off the ground a good deal as we experienced the attractions of the night.

It was impossible to ignore the projection show, Rhythms of the Night, on the exterior of the Royal Exhibition Building

 

The projection depicted what happens during the cycles of our sleep. Mmmmmm…..I am still waiting for a night’s sleep like this.

Nebulous was an eye catching art installation in front of the Melbourne Museum.

My friend and I wandered over to a large illuminated model of a boat made from tubes but with 7 people aboard, The Pyrophone Juggernaut turned into a rip snorting, flame spurting percussion/wind instrument complete with the occasional explosion. Yes, as we stood amazed at the spectacle before us, my friend said: ‘It was worth coming just for this!’

We were further entertained by the Sonic Light Bubble, artificial possums with glowing red eyes lodged in the branches of trees (I suspect any self respecting brush tailed possum would have vacated the Carlton Gardens for the night) and two stilt walkers dressed as flamingos.

Crowd members got into the spirit of the night with children wearing twinkling footwear running by and adults dressed up. The merchandise sellers were doing well going on the numbers of light sabres being waved and the illuminated head wear being worn.

We felt well rewarded for our efforts as we boarded the last train home before midnight.

The price of our adventure? Food and drink only. We used our free Seniors travel vouchers for the trains and trams and the attractions were free.

 

Lichen at Llandia, Taradale
December 28, 2016

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Llandia was another garden I visited during the 2016 Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens.

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Australian natives were flowering including grevilleas………

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………and this mint bush.

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The lichen growing on mature deciduous trees was very photogenic.

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It was very pleasant sitting on the verandah enjoying afternoon tea whilst looking out over the garden in the gently falling rain.

 

Forest Edge, Muckleford 2016
December 11, 2016

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I have happily revisited Forest Edge during Castlemaine and District Garden Festivals over many years. It is easily my favourite garden and it did not disappoint on Monday, the 31st of October.

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Forest Edge is a large country garden with rural views.

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It has flowers…….

 

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……..lots of flowers……..

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…..lots of roses…….

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……a multitude of rock roses……..

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……….dense with bees……..

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…….. many irises………….

 

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………succulents imaginatively displayed……….

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…………..lots more flowers………..

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………even a moist, shaded corner where Solomon’s Seal can flourish………

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………..There are garden ornaments and garden art to intrigue and delight……….

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……..and finally, these two photographs give only a hint of the productiveness of the garden.

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Serenity, Newstead
November 27, 2016

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The Castlemaine and District Festival of Gardens was a very busy week. During the week, I visited two open gardens in Newstead – Lacey’s which I posted a few weeks ago and Serenity.

Serenity is right in the heart of the township. It presents a modest frontage, but there is more to Serenity than initially meets the eye. The property extends way back behind the house. As we stood in the back yard, one local remarked she had walked past the property many times and had no idea how big it actually is.

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The garden is heavily planted with members of the daisy clan – reliable performers in Newstead’s tough climate.

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I admired the effect of blue, white and green in this planting.

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I don’t often see foxgloves. There was quite a show in this garden.

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The owners clearly like lots of colour in their garden.

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The owners have added decorative elements to add interest.

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They clearly want to sit and enjoy the garden.

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This garden retreat at the rear of the property is still a work in progress. The interior is not quite finished but the verandah is a joy to behold. It is so inviting.

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Lacey’s, Newstead
November 3, 2016

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The Castlemaine and District 14th Biennial Festival of Gardens is being held this week and I’ve been overdosing on flowers. Lacey’s in Newstead which I visited on Sunday, the 30th of October, was a feast of blooms due to the good rains we have enjoyed this year.

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Iris were definitely the stars of the show.

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There is much to amuse and delight in this garden. Jennifer Lacey is a creative spirit and the garden reflects this.

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I was very impressed with the collection of objects used to decorate the water tank.

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Barry Lacey teaches Tai Chi and the garden reflects his interest in the orient including bonsai.

 

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Many roses are still in bud due to cooler temperatures this spring. However, some were happily blooming on Sunday.

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Some people might regard this poultry flock as ideal – no need to feed or protect from predators. The down side is – no eggs.

Mosaic Garden, Kyneton
October 7, 2016

 

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Today’s post features a garden that was open during the 2016 Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival held from the 1st to the 11th of September. I visited the Mosaic Garden on Wednesday, the 7th of September.

The gardener, Geraldine Phelan, is a mosaic artist and her work is dotted throughout the garden.

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The Mosaic Garden has a few quirky features. This life size red horse is one.

 

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As well as mosaics, there were plenty of camellias to admire.

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The art of Paul Gaugin had a strong influence.

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These babushka dolls were very appealing.

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Geraldine’s studio was worth a visit as well with beautiful mosaic dragons on display.